#PledgeAgainstPlastic garden a BLOOMing success!

Our #PledgeAgainstPlastic garden at Bloom has proved a huge success!

The ‘postcard garden’, which was created almost entirely out of recycled materials, was Highly Commended by the Bloom judges and attracted much attention and praise. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spent some time admiring it and even tried out the sofa, which was made entirely out of eco-bricks (two litre plastic bottles filled with soft plastics).

Peter Donegan, a Royal Horticultural Society Silver Medal awardee, said the girls’ hard work and creativity had made him “smile very much” and climate campaigner and author, Lorna Gold, said it was her favourite garden because “It has the most heart in it”.

The garden was the brainchild of Sarah Blake, who has recently founded a sustainability consultancy called Earthology and who is Leader of Rathgar Zion Brownies. Once she came up with the design, she reached out to Zion Guides to help out too and we then put out word to IGG’s 12,000 members around the country to help collect plastic bottle tops and make eco-bricks.

In the end 1,500 plastic bottle tops were used in the creation of the garden – hundreds of blue tops were used to represent the ocean on a giant globe while other coloured bottle tops were used to decorate planters. The planters themselves were reused plastic tubs and bunting was made with crisp packets. A bug hotel was made by the girls by filling plastic containers with twigs and leaves and beautiful badges and crocheted ladybirds were made with leftover wool and scraps of material.

Sarah said the aim of the garden was to encourage people to focus on the ways in which they could reduce their use of plastic and focus on the 5 Rs – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. “You can Refuse by growing your own vegetables and fruits, thereby avoiding the need for buying them in plastic,” she said. “You can Reduce by using bees wrap instead of clingfilm to wrap your lunch (it can be bought in health food shops), you can Reuse by using plastic containers as planters and Recycle by sending, for example, soft plastics, like crisp packets, to Terracycle. And you can Rot by using a compost bin or brown bin for your food waste.”

The back of the garden featured a wall on which Rathgar Brownies and Guides signed their pledges to reduce their use of plastic and visitors to the garden were encouraged to make their own #PledgeAgainstPlastic.

We enjoyed hundreds of conversations with members of the public over the weekend about sustainability and how we can each make a difference to help combat climate change. A member of Whitechurch Ladybirds even talked to President Michael D Higgins about the importance of bees!